The state of Ohio is incredibly rich in state parks, and for residents of Columbus, beautiful scenery and convenient campgrounds are just a quick drive away. At these state parks, you can enjoy lots of fun activities depending on the time of year you visit, including swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, horseback riding, disc golfing, and, of course, learning about Ohio’s rich wildlife and natural history. Here are nine state parks to visit near Columbus that are all within an hour’s drive of the Buckeye State capitol. Add them to your Buckeye State bucket list and get ready to fall head-over-heels for the beauty of central Ohio!

There are so many relaxing parks and so many activities to enjoy, and all just an hour or less outside of the city! If you want to learn more about the parks and their amenities, make sure you visit the Ohio State Parks website.

Which Ohio State Park is your favorite to visit when you’re near Columbus? Let us know in the comments below!

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state parks to visit near Columbus

What's the best state park to visit in Ohio?

With a total of 75 state parks, it’s difficult to determine which one is the single best state park in Ohio. But since you're asking, we're going to go ahead and name Salt Fork State Park. This Ohio State Park in Cambridge is one of the absolute best in the Buckeye State, and with gorgeous scenery, preserved history, and so many things to do, it's well-worth exploring any season of the year! In addition to the usual state park amenities and beautiful scenery, this park is known for its history preservation. History buffs will want to explore the Kennedy Stone House. And avid (or casual) hikers? Well, with a total of 14 hiking trails and several bridle trails, there's plenty to explore at this massive state park.

What are some beautiful places to visit near Columbus?

We absolutely adore the Franklin Park Conservatory, and think it's one of the state's most beautiful hidden gems! One of the crown jewels of Columbus, Franklin Park Conservatory is a landmark that everyone should experience at least once per year -- or, you know, in each and every season! You'll find a true menagerie of topiaries tucked away in both the indoor biomes and outdoor gardens. And for kids, this place is nothing short of magical -- like walking into Oz from Kansas -- everything is so bright and colorful. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden is a discovery garden and nature playscape rolled into one: the Canopy Walk is a big treehouse complete with a large, trampoline-style net, the Nature Play Zone features large, Lincoln-Log style building sticks and the Sunrise Lawn is an open space for rolling, running and blowing off steam.